"I have to give our guys a great deal of credit," Providence Coach Josh Eggleston said. "They really picked themselves up and they battled back after losing those first two games. And they were being pushed around pretty good."
The Pioneers will take on either Downey Calvary Chapel or San Gorgonio in a second-round match Thursday at a site to be determined.
Providence (15-6) — the second-place team from the Liberty League — didn't look like a fourth-seeded team in the first two games against St. Bernard (13-14), the runner-up in the Camino Real League.
But the Pioneers persevered, forcing the crucial fifth game. However, it was the Vikings who captured the momentum early on in the fifth, clawing their way to an 11-6 advantage. But Providence embarked on a comeback, sparked by tough net play from Chester Bosworth and kills by Phil Harvey.
After a 5-0 run, the Pioneers tied the score at 11. The score was again tied, 12-12, and 13-13. Providence was able to take a one-point lead on a booming kill by Harvey. That was followed by the match-winner from Bosworth, who rolled a kill off the top of the net and onto the floor in front of the stunned Vikings.
"I guess the final result was to get the win," Eggleston said. "But this was a really nerve-wracking way to do it."
Harvey paced the Pioneers with 15 kills.
After taking a 2-0 games lead, the Vikings looked to close out the sweep, leading 20-19 in the third game. But kills by Harvey and Kris Galvez, coupled with three St. Bernard hitting errors and a net violation late in the game, allowed the Pioneers to win the stanza and stay alive.
Providence finally hit its stride in the fourth game after an 8-8 tie. The Pioneers embarked on a monumental 15-0 run to take a commanding 23-8 lead. The hosts ended the game on a 17-2 run to snatch the momentum of the match.